Windows 7 Review Redux
Well I figured its time to re-review Windows 7, in my previous review I did hammer on it a little bit but the major issues were due to the age of the machine that I was trying to install it on. There was a lack of driver support for some of the older equipment in the box.
Well I have built another machine for the office and decided to test Windows 7 again and see what it is all about.
Mainboard Gigabyte EP45-UD3P
4GB DDR2 Corsair Dominator 5 5 5 25 Ram
250GB Seagate 7200.11
Intel Q6600 Quad core
BFG Nvidia 9600GT
Seasonic 650W PSU
Antec 300 Tower
The previous disk that I had for Windows 7 would not allow an install to occur. Missing win install dll was the error that came up during the installation. So I grabbed a fresh copy of Windows 7 (this time I opted for the 64 bit version) and started again, just as the previous time I installed 7 it went very smoothly and installed as quickly as Vista does.
The majority of the drivers required were automatically installed with the installation. Again though there was no drivers for the onboard lan, out comes the driver disk from the motherboard box. Once the driver was in I was able to activate windows and the updates began to download. So far so good!
The first things that I noticed was the new desktop tools. The side bar is now removed making way for free gadget placement on the desktop. Right Click >Personalize to find that the interface for desktop customization is much easier to navigate through. The options are listed on the bottom of the panel with nice big icons. The same old customization tools are present however there is more choice of color for the windows and there are some nice default themes. But wait what is that desktop slideshow tool I see? Using the browse tool I was able to navigate to my favorite wallpaper folder and I see a select all button. When pressed it selects all of the images in the folder and the slideshow options are available below. I cannot beleive what I am seeing here, the one feature I have wanted in Windows for years, can it be real? YES it is Windows 7 uses a slideshow for the desktop wallpaper. I am overwhelmed with awe as I am now able to have my favorite wallpapers change at set intervals.
The rest of the interface is just as described in my previous review.
Just as I was thinking all is good with this new installation, time to play some video files and check out Media Player 12. The interface in media player 12 has changed again, I am not sure if I like it this time. The enhancements tools are nowhere to be found and the player seems to be separated from the library all together so that you can have the library and the player open at the same time. BSOD oh yes part way into the video the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death! well thats not very good. After a few attempts at playing videos with constant Blue Screens its time for diagnostics.
- Updated all drivers for sound and video – No fix!
- Downloaded Windows 7 Video codec pack – No fix!
- Disabled sound in biot – No fix!
- Switched to the 64 bit player (Vista and 7 Default to using x86 player) – No fix!
- Checked the error logs!
After getting into the error logs I was able to find out that there is a hotfix for a transer protocol which was causing the BSOD. Send off email to Microsoft and request the hotfix. 5 minutes later I recieve an email with the hotfix download and install it on the machine. Very hesitantly I open up a video and to my amazement I am able to watch through the entire video. Keep in mind this is the Beta 7000 Build so I cannot expect perfection.
The dreaded experience index is still present in windows 7. Although there is a much larger range of numbers so no cap out at 5.9 like in Vista. Something is not right here however my index is listed as 2.9 due to disk data transfer rate. I tried to enable AHCI instead of IDE in the bios for the SATA drive but it caused BSOD on boot. Not willing to go through another hassle of debugging this glitch I reverted back to the IDE control interface for the SATA drive.
I was able to get the drive performance to 5.3 by disabling the Write Caching on the disk which is good for now. The rest of the Experience Index was acceptable so no need for any major tweaks here. Now that the system is up and running I move some files around, the transfer speeds of files is far superior to that of vista.
I use multiple computers with same keyboard and mouse utilizing Multiplicity by Stardock. The application installed smoothly and needed no addition setup to run on Windows 7 and I am able to use concurantly with Vista 64bit on the other computer.
I haven’t had a chance to go any further into the OS and play with performance but Windows 7 really does feel more responsive than Vista and even with the hassles I faced it does seem more stable than Vista aswell. The OS itself seems like it is lighter as there are less applications integrated with it now. The live essentials pack is downloadable and there are WAY more options for removing windows components in the control panel. Overall I would have to say the Microsoft has gotten it right with this OS. I cannot wait to see the Release Candidate.
Psyc3d Updated Rating 8.5/10